Gregory Scruggs / June 27, 2019
Environmentalists and indigenous groups, meanwhile, would like to see more water flow through the Columbia to support healthier fish stocks, a goal that might be achieved if so-called “ecosystem-based function” is added as a pillar of the modernized treaty.
That regional concern has received minimal attention in the talks thus far, but that may have changed last week when the U.S. State Department hosted a Canadian diplomatic delegation in Washington, D.C., for the seventh round of talks. Unlike in the previous six rounds of talks, representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations, the three First Nations living in the upper Columbia basin, joined the Canadian side of the table — a domain previously dominated by diplomats from Ottawa and the British Columbia provincial government.
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The Canadian decision renewed hope for U.S. tribes that their multiyear demand for a seat at the negotiating table would be met. Thus far, there are no signs that will happen.